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BBC Inside Science

Science Podcasts

A weekly programme that illuminates the mysteries and challenges the controversies behind the science that's changing our world.

A weekly programme that illuminates the mysteries and challenges the controversies behind the science that's changing our world.


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A weekly programme that illuminates the mysteries and challenges the controversies behind the science that's changing our world.




A Reign of Science

Society itself and the ways we live have been transformed in 70 years of science. Marnie Chesterton, Andrea Sella, and Gemma Milne take a tour of the archive to evaluate some of the biggest hits on Inside Science's jubilee list. What did we miss? Presented by Marnie Chesterton. Assistant Producer Emily Bird Produced by Alex Mansfield


Monkeypox, Pompeii aDNA, and Elephant Mourning Videos

Why are non-African monkeypox cases causing concern? Also, the first complete human genome from a Pompeiian cadaver, and how YouTube is aiding animal behaviourists. As cases of monkeypox appear strangely dispersed around Europe and elsewhere in the world outside of Africa, BBC health and science correspondent James Gallagher outlines to Vic the symptoms and some of the mysterious elements of this outbreak. In Pompeii, scientists have for the first time managed to sequence the whole genome of...


Buried Mars Landers, Freezing Species, and Low-Tide Archaeology

Since 2018, Nasa's InSight Mars lander has been sitting on the surface listening to the seismic rumbles of the red planet's deep interior. But this week, plans were announced to finally phase down its activity, as martian dust obscures too much of its solar panels to power it through the forthcoming winter. Jon Amos tells Vic Gill of some of its many successes, and quite why it didn't fly with a duster on board. 50 years of observations across Australia's northern tropical forests suggest...


Running Rings Around Matter

Astronomers have captured the first image of Sagittarius A*, the gargantuan black hole at the centre of our galaxy. Dr Ziri Younsi, University College London, shares what it took to capture a picture of a supermassive black hole that is 26,000 light-years away and from which (almost) nothing, not even light, can escape. The world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, is restarting after three years of upgrades. Roland Pease visits the European Particle...


Precious Metals, Earlier Eggs, and Meaningful Meteorites

With the cost of living spiralling, many are probably thinking more about the price of food than lithium, titanium, copper or platinum. But the volatility in the global market for these materials - partly because of the pandemic and geopolitical unrest - is causing 'chaos' in the technology supply chain. Elizabeth Ratcliffe, Royal Society of Chemistry, tells Vic that many of us are unwittingly stockpiling these precious metals in our homes, in our old phones and defunct computers, because we...


The Ebb and Flow of the Tidal Power Revolution

This week, we begin with a disturbing medical mystery. Since the start of the year, almost 200 children worldwide have fallen ill with hepatitis—or liver inflammation—without any apparent cause. Most of the children are under five, and nearly half of the cases were in the UK. Vic Gill asks clinical epidemiologist Deepti Gurdasani, Queen Mary University of London, what we do and don't know about these rare cases. Also on the programme, with a huge tidal range, Wales and the west coast of...


Building Better Engagement

Victoria Gill and guests ask why does scientific communication matters in society and how it might be done better, with Sam Illingworth, Berry Billingsley and Ozmala Ismail. The climate crisis and Covid-19 have shown over the recent years the importance of reliable, relatable, transparent and trusted science communication. But just like science itself, it comes in different forms and takes different approaches. Always keen to keep you up to date, BBC Inside Science takes a moment to discuss...


A Trip-Switch for Depression?

Could magic mushrooms be the key to a revolution in treating depression? Professor David Nutt, director of the Imperial Centre for Psychedelic Research, thinks so. He tells Vic Gill about recent research suggesting that psilocybin - the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms - triggers rewiring of the brain in people with treatment-resistant depression. Vic Gill speaks with trial participant Steve Shorney who was diagnosed with depression 30 years ago. Nanobodies. That's the name...


Declining Data, Climate Deadlines and the Day the Dinosaurs Died

Covid-19 infections in the UK are at an all-time high. But most people in England can no longer access free Covid-19 tests, and the REACT-1 study, which has been testing more than 100,000 individuals since the pandemic began, ended last week after its funding stopped. Martin Mckee, Prof of European Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, shares his insights on what these changes might mean for ambitions to 'live with the virus'. This week, the UN's latest...


How can the UK get to zero carbon?

Energy is essential: every living thing needs energy to survive, and today’s industrialised societies consume enormous quantities of it. At the moment, the vast majority of this comes from burning fossil fuels that emit carbon. But the government is committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Meanwhile, oil and gas prices are rocketing, exacerbated by the ongoing war in Ukraine. And the energy price cap is being raised on April 1st, hitting millions of householders in the UK....


Racial inequality in UK science

This month the Royal Society of Chemistry released a shocking report on racial inequality at all stages of academia, from research funding to career progression. Black scientists in particular are unfairly disadvantaged when it comes to funding allocation. This is bad for them, bad for science, and bad for society. So how do we change things? Dr Diego Baptista from the Wellcome Trust, Professor Melanie Welham from the UKRI, and Dr Addy Adelaine, from the non-profit organisation...


Global food security during Ukraine conflict

The Russian conflict in Ukraine is already causing hunger there, and as Ukraine and Russia are huge grain exporters, the crisis will be far reaching. Food prices everywhere are expected to rise, and there’s fear that the war could affect food supplies in some of the poorest parts of the world. Tim Lang, Emeritus Professor of Food Policy at City University of London, and Dr Hannah Ritchie, Head of Research at the website Our World in Data, join us to discuss food security. Lead is highly...


High Seas treaty talks and discoveries from the deep

The High Seas make up most of our oceans but belong to no-one and are largely unregulated, leaving them at risk of plunder. UN talks start afresh this week with the aim of protecting the marine biodiversity of these vast swathes of living ocean. Covid-19 can shrink our brains and lead to cognitive decline, even in mild cases, according to a new study out this week. Professor Gwenaëlle Douaud, who led the research, explains how they used hundreds of brain scans to discover the effects of...


Cyber frontlines in Ukraine

As conflict continues in Ukraine, there are invisible ‘cyber frontlines’ running in parallel to the physical fighting. We hear how the country’s tech scene is responding to the Russian invasion, as Mike Sapiton, Tech Editor at Forbes Ukraine gives us a view from the ground, and Professor Madeline Carr explains why cyber warfare can be particularly dangerous. A major report published this week speaks to a different kind of crisis: climate change. There are stark warnings for humanity and the...


Inside Science is now first on BBC Sounds

Looking for the latest episode? New episodes of Inside Science will now be available first on BBC Sounds for four weeks before other podcast apps. If you haven’t already, you can download the BBC Sounds app to listen to the Inside Science podcast first. BBC Sounds is also available in lots of other places. Find us on your voice device or smart speaker, on your connected TV, in your car, or at The latest episode is available on BBC Sounds right now. BBC Sounds – you can find...


World’s largest Jurassic pterosaur found on Skye

In a week of exciting fossils finds we get up close to a 170 million year old pterosaur, found on the Isle of Skye. And over in the States, some fossilised fish hold the clue to what time of year the dinosaurs, along with three quarters of life on Earth, met their end. We hear from researcher Melanie During who tells us how growth patterns in sturgeons' bones reveal the season of this mass extinction. Predictions for how our climate will change over the coming years are essential in setting...


COVID-19: Beginnings... and endings?

With the prime minister proposing an end to self-isolation requirements as early as the end of the month, we thought we would check in with all things pandemic-related this week. We hear from mathematical biologist Dr Kit Yates from the University of Bath and UCL’s Professor Christina Pagel, who, like many scientists, are concerned about the consequences of relaxing protective measures. However, epidemiologist Professor Irene Petersen tells us why she feels it is the right time to loosen...


Fusion energy smashes world record

This week the UK-based JET Laboratory broke its 25-year-old record for energy extracted by nuclear fusion - the process that powers the stars. Using temperatures 10 times hotter than the sun, nuclear fusion has the potential to provide vast amounts of energy at a very low carbon cost. But re-creating the power of the stars here on earth is no easy feat, and Roland Pease has been in Culham, speaking to the scientists at the forefront of this breakthrough. We discuss the Advanced Research and...


The Continuing Story of the Nuclear Waste Bill

Whilst energy prices are shooting up due to gas demand, in the UK the plans for the next generation nuclear reactors are moving ahead. The costs of eventually decommissioning these, and the spent fuel products they will create is all part of the new contract. But what is to be done, and how far have we got with the 70 years of legacy waste piling up in the UK? Claire Corkhill of Sheffield university helps advise the government about nuclear waste disposal. As she tells Marnie, it's a...


Predicting Long Covid, and the Global Toll of Antimicrobial Resistance

Prof Onur Boyman, Director of department of Immunology at University Hospital, Zurich, this week published a paper in the journal Nature Communications that presents a way of quantifying the risk of a Covid patient going on to develop Long Covid (or PACS as some call it) based on certain symptoms, but crucially also two key biomarkers in the blood. As he explains to Gaia, combining the levels in the blood of two key immunoglobulins (IgM and IgG3) with other pointers, first identified last...